Since our tragedy last month, I have been obsessing over dog food, and decided I need to change things around and go homemade. There is an abundance of information on the web, but most seem to want to sell something, and that makes them a bit untrusty... The only article I found that makes sense to me, is this one: http://www.2ndchance.info/homemadediets.htm . And maybe this one too, for the info on calcium: http://www.pet-grub.com/part1/the_importance_of_calcium_in_natural_homemade_pet_food
For some reason, the thought of giving my dog artificial vitamins all her life, is not sitting well with me. But I seem to have made so many mistakes, that I don't trust my judgment anymore.
And I don't understand why my grandparents' dogs live so long and die of very old age (last one was 19 - a big dog), when they are fed soup, whey and other leftovers, mixed with dehydrated bread, and mine died so young, even though dog foods in general are suppose to have all the vitamins our pets need.
If you have the time, please read the articles and tell me what you think. Also, I would appreciate your advice, or other sources of information!
Sadly some dog food on the market is junk, full of worthless junk and sometimes with damaging contaminates. There are nonetheless some very reputable and tested suppliers. I use Natures Balance, which may be no better than okay but not junk full of unknowns and worthless fillers (corn comes to mind)...
Home made makes it easy to assure no unknown ingredients are in the mix but makes it harder to make the meal balanced. Generally high meat/fish/chicken and potatoes or rice is a good start. Even so, I believe our Westie may have an allergy to chicken.. so none of that for him. Beef can also be problematic, I believe... seems wild thing may be the best, say fish or venison or duck... some kibbles emphasis wild food content.
I believe your dogs are safe using off the shelf dog food, good to mix in some wet/canned but check third party testers - I forget the one popular on this Community, but just do a web search on dog food testing will likely bring it up. Then pick from the top half of the ranking and you should be alright if you dog isn't allergic to one of the main products listed.
Hello. There is so much confusion about dog food and it's totally understandable because everyone and their grandmother has an opinion on it. My own take on it stems from years of researching manufactured foods compared with home made - and following the death of one of my dogs from kidney disease. I have always fed my own dogs much the same thing over the last 30 years, and they have all been mostly healthy, though some have died of dog-related illnesses at 12 yrs, while one of my dogs lived to be almost 20 years.
Of course, sometimes the diet makes little difference to longevity, if the dog in question has a predetermined genetic problem that will cause a fatality at some stage no matter what. That said, diet can truly help add years to some dogs lives, and the nature of the food can certainly help alleviate specific problems as time goes on.
Let me say at the outset, I am not a fan of dry foods, simply because there is good evidence to suggest most dogs fed on dry food remain dehydrated for most of their adult lives - causing stress and problems on the kidneys, heart and other organs. I am also not a fan of some tinned dog food, particularly those designed mainly to look good to human owners who then think it is going to be good for their best friend, when actually the richer the tinned food the worse it often is for the dog. Cheap tinned foods are also invariably full of bad things - including many that are manufactured in some overseas countries, such as China.
My route to a happy and healthy dog lies in a nutritional and varied diet. I give a small amount of Chappy (tinned food available in the UK and highly recommended by vets for its high fish, minerals and vitamin content). The evening meal is made up of cooked beef, chicken, rabbit, white fish or lamb - purchased in frozen blocks of pure meat/fish with no additives available from good pet stores - and mix this with either boiled white rice or pasta with a teaspoon of olive oil.
Some people say this is too much trouble, but to be honest it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and cook (using the microwave) - and in any case, my dogs love their diet and seem very healthy on it.
I don't know whether any of that helps, it's just my opinion, for what it's worth. Tony
I'm not a fan of dry/kibble foods either & REFUSE to use them....The only reason I have ANY in the house are for my rescue fosters to know what it is because unfortunately, their new adoptive homes will probably choose to feed it!
I have fed fresh foods for years & years.....I do buy packaged foods also, but they must be whole fresh foods, preferably dehydrated......
Yes, I DO supplement my homecooked foods with a Vitamin/Mineral supplement or just Calcium (The most important) AND a omega 3 oil.....I do rotate oils or buy a combination one....I like the comb. better! I make LARGE pots of stews & YES, I do add grains! But I will only allow whole grains such as Whole oats, Barley or Quinoa...
A far as trouble to make: I make a batch (Stew) that last my crew of 5, for 2 weeks.....I package in 16oz. containers & freeze...
There are many options......Many companies make mixes that are dehydrated......You will not find these on your grocery store or discount center shelves or probably NOT in your local Dogfood store, either....
Some mixes you add your own protein source or some can be purchased with meat in them....I rotate Proteins, so this makes it convenient....These are easy because you soak with water to hydrate & serve plus, All vitamins/ minerals are already added to the mix!
I could go on & on, but I must be somewhere soon....Gotta run....If you are interested in names, please let me know.......Karla
Hi Tony, wow, 20 years is huge for a dog! I don't think it is much trouble to make our own food, I am so sorry I didn't do it more often, because they give us everything and they trust us with their lives, they love us unconditionally, it is the least we can do for them.
I am very interested, please go on when you have the time, thank you!
I used to cook for my dog quite often for a while, but i didn't do it right and then I stopped, so now I want to be informed. Right now I am on my second batch that I froze. This is what I used: chicken meat, chicken liver, hearts and gizzards, whole eggs (i used a grind machine for the shells), steamed vegetable and rice, no salt. I plan to rotate everything, except the eggs. I am a bit lost in regards to omega 3, what is best, is it fish oil, or flex seed oil? Is this what you rotate?
And what about the teeth? Are they ok with the homemade diet? Some say it is bad for the teeth...
I would appreciate your input, thank you!
Hi. That's exactly why I use the Chappy - it provides the dogs with all the necessary minerals, vitamins, etc., just in case the cooked meat and rice or pasta doesn't ... I also give them a supper treat of either a Rice Bone or Dentastix, which they love and which are non-fattening and good for their teeth, so I think I've covered health, nutrition and taste issues as far as I can. Part of the trick, in my opinion, is variety, because while many dogs will eat just about anything (being natural scavengers), they need a certain amount of good things in their diets, rather than the same old thing day in day out.
Occasionally I also add cooked vegetables such as carrot and sweet potato, which they also seem to thoroughly enjoy.
The stews I make are from a book called "Whole Pet Diet" by Andi Brown... This is my baseline stew...I DO add a Vitamin/Mineral Supplement that also contains Calcium.....It is a powder that I mix with their food...Based on weight.....I also add Oils to each meal....Many companies sell Omega Oils.....I suppose the most abundant is Salmon oil.....The dose is on the bottle and again based on pounds of dog....The one I use is "Best in Coat" by Andi Brown....It's a mixture of various oils & I just happen to really like this one!
Eggshell Calcium: I make my own and rotate it with their Vitamin Mix....(Again, because their supplement already has Calcium in it).
For Egg Shell Calcium.....Bake egg shells in oven to dry them out....Make sure you grind to a fine, fine powder.....I use a coffee grinder.....The dose is:
1/2 teaspoon per POUND of food.....I package my stews in 1lb. containers.....Here is a link to the Recipe...One batch makes about 14 lbs. of food! It goes a long, long way!!!!!
Another great book for home made meals is "Dinner PAWsible"...Very simple meals that call for eggshell calcium & a source of oil added to each meal.....This is a wonderful book & the above one is, too....
That should get you started....I'll be back later with packaged foods you can buy to make your own meals......Bye, Karla
Me again to finish....There are many Packaged mixes that take the guess work out of the equation for Home made meals....... Here are a few:
"Sojo's"--- This company makes dehydrated mixes that you add your own Protein sources to....They also make complete mixes with meat included....Also, make treats..This is a great company....
"Dr. Harvey's"--Mixes that again, you add your own proteins AND oils....They also sell treats...The "Tripe" treats are my dog's favorite.....This company also sells their own line of supplements, including oils...
My fall back favorite that I have used for years & still do: "The Honest Kitchen"--I've used ALL their mixes & just love them...Love the company & everything about it.....They also make treats...The "Pecks" (Buffalo & Blueberry) are a favorite here....All their mixes have meat included.....However, they do make one called (Preference) that you add your own protein.....Their web page has many many articles worth reading.....Also, they offer taste test sizes (Just a bite), & Sample Size (Makes 1 lb. of food) which is nice to see if your dog likes it or not before you waste your money on a large box......Their customer service is excellent as are their foods!
I have NO access to good food in my area, so I order online....My go to online shopping sights for food are DoggieFood.com or Chewy's.com.....Why? Because they offer free shipping, on anything you buy, if you spend $50.....I have 5 dogs here, so $50 is easy! ;)
My favorite chews are normally animal, body parts made by Merrick or fresh Chicken feet from a butcher (These are getting really hard to find)........Merrick makes some great chews!!!!! Gotta run.....Talk to you soon, Take care...... Karla
For when you get tired of the cooking, which is a normal behavior by the way, here is my TOP PICK for Commercial Canned AND Kibble.....They also make a Frozen RAW which I love.....I have many reasons for liking this food.....
These pet foods are made using whole food ingredients with NO synthetic vitamins or minerals and NO ingredients from China & a Complete nutrient profile.
All meat and vegetable ingredients are from human food sources and manufacturing . Lamb, Venison and Beef ingredients are sourced from grass-fed animals. Chicken, Duck, and Rabbit ingredients are fed vegetarian diets. All are antibiotic and hormone-free.
This is a wonderful company w/excellent customer service & they have it right, IMO......You can visit their Web-page to locate a retailer near you....There are quite a few.....You won't find this food at your normal dog food supply stores.....
I wouldn't hesitate to feed the food.....This one is the one that would be my choice.....Now that I've said that; I believe I WILL go purchase some of their canned to have on hand! Take care & have a wonderful day.......Karla
Ahh Dammit! I wish I would have been that clever! Would have been really fun to read the responses & guesses.....Wish you would have caught me BEFORE I posted the name. Oh well, Made me laugh, too! Karla
Hi Maddy. How much depends on the type of dog. My own dogs (one mixed Rottie, the other a greyhound), tend to have different amounts too because one is much smaller than the other. What I try to do is make sure the total daily amount doesn't exceed what the general recommendation is for the day's intake for the breed type, size and weight of dog. There's a rough guide for how much to feed at http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/feeding.htm
The other thing I try to do is weigh the dogs once a month, as this lets me know whether they are gaining weight or losing it - and therefore it reminds me to cut down or increase what I am feeding them. Tony
Thank you for the info, I think it all depends on each individual too, just like in humans, some gain weight more easily than others. But what I meant to ask, was what ratio Chappie/cooked food do you give them. I am sorry, English is not my first language and sometimes I don't express myself very well.
In my quest to make sense of my little girl's death, I came upon this bit of information that I found very interesting, since there are so many strong opinions on raw meat/vegetables/grains, and what a dog should be fed in general:
"In the 2000s, at least two dogs were still living at 27 years old, but one was fed a purely vegetarian diet (border collie, died at 27) and one fed primarily on kangaroo and emu meat (bull terrier cross, died at 27)"
It makes me wonder, since dogs are obviously carnivores, did they adapt so well to other foods in general? Or is it all really in the genes and no matter what you do, you can't change how much they live? If these dogs were fed kibble, would they have lived as long? Also, these were not very small dogs...
Hi. I tend to give pretty much equal amounts for my two, but in different volumes, as the grey hound is much bigger and more energetic so needs more calories. I find a tea-cup sized amount of Chappy (on its own) is generally about right for my smaller dog, while the greyhound has about 2 cups, given in the morning. Then at night, at about 6pm, I give about a cup of cooked meat (beef, chicken, turkey, white fish, rabbit or green tripe) with about 2 cups of boiled white rice or pasta. My dogs also get a treat at about 9pm in the form of a dentistix or rice bone, though I try to keep other treats to a minimum. Hope that helps explain it a little better. Tony
It has been 4 months since my remaining girl is on a lightly cooked homemade diet. I use chicken/beef, livers, hearts and gizzards (all cooked at low temperature, enough to kill the germs), whole eggs, lots of vegetables and a little bit of rice/pasta/oats/potatoes and then top each meal with a bit of flax seed oil/fish oil.
What I've noticed so far is that she doesn't throw up anymore, she used to do that every once in a while. I thought I should mention that.
The real test for me is the test of time and longevity though.
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